Artwork by Robert Whitman. Edited by Bettina Funcke, Karen Kelly. Text by David Joselit, George Baker, Ben Portis, Lynne Cooke.
One of the pioneers of performance and multimedia work, constantly cited as key to the burgeoning postwar genres now considered standard fare in art galleries and museums, Robert Whitman's work of the 1960s and 1970s has long been inaccessible because of its ephemeral nature. This publication and the exhibition it accompanies are the first to reexamine his seminal early work, begun under the influence of Allan Kaprow in the late 1950s. Early performances, in conjunction with fellow artists Jim Dine and Claes Oldenburg, paralleled exhibitions in some of the more influential experimental galleries of the time, including Hansa, Reuben and Martha Jackson. The 1960s saw Whitman become highly interested in multimedia projections, which he incorporated into installations as well as into his increasingly elaborate performances. Together with Robert Rauschenberg, Billy Klüver and others, Whitman later spearheaded the collaborations between artists and scientists that resulted in such landmark exhibitions as Art & Technology, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1971 and Pavillion (E.A.T.), at the Pepsi pavillion, Expo 70, in Osaka, Japan. An incisive volume for artists and scholars interested in the major movements of the 1960s and 1970s, including happenings, performance, theater, pop art, multimedia installation work and interdisciplinary collaboration.